Time to Cook up a Pot of Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans grown by Diaz Farms, Deming, NM

 

Those of you who have been visiting MJ’s Kitchen for a while know that I love cooking up dried beans and putting them in all sorts of dishes.  You’ve had my black beans and bolita beans, but you haven’t had my pinto beans. In fact, I haven’t had my pinto beans for years because I’ve been eating so many black beans.  However, that’s about to change.

Last week I received a package from Diaz Farms, a family-owned farm in southern New Mexico.  Inside the package was a bag of their dried pinto beans, along with a few other items to be revealed soon. I think these beans have made me fall back in love with pintos.  They were so buttery and flavorful and made a great bowl of beans for Sunday’s supper and burritos on Tuesday. I wonder what I’ll be making with the rest of the beans.


The recipe below uses a pressure cooker, the only method I ever use for cooking dried beans. However, this same recipe can be used for a slow cooker and for cooking in a Dutch oven on the stovetop. I’m not sure about the timing, but from what I’ve read, cooking dried beans in a slow cooker takes about 2 to 3 hours on the highest setting (see Kitchen Notes).  On the stovetop, they take about 2 to 3 hours. In the pressure cooker, about 40 minutes from start to finish.

To learn more about Diaz Farms, see the information below my Kitchen Notes.

 

A bowl of pinto beans with an assortment of toppings

 

Steps 1 through 9 of the following recipe are for a pot of basic pinto beans, like what you get from a can but better. The cooking and rest times I use yield a bean that is “a little” undercooked.  After the beans are cooked in the pressure cooker, I scoop out what I need for a specific dish and finish cooking the beans in the dish.  Steps 10 through 14 is what you would do to get the delicious bowl of beans you see in the pictures and it only takes an additional 10 to 15 minutes.  In the Kitchen Notes, I’ll give you a few more ideas for these beans.

 

A bowl of pinto beans with an assortment of toppings

 

Kitchen Notes

Amounts:  1 cup of dried beans yields about 3 cups of cooked beans

Why do I not cook until done? – When I make a pot of beans, I usually have at least 2 meals in mind, usually with totally different ingredients. If both meals are hot meals, or require cooking the beans with additional ingredients, I like the beans undercooked to start, so they won’t turn to mush during the second cooking.  However, if I plan to use them in salads or cold dishes, I’ll cook the bean on the stovetop for an additional 10 minutes or until done before refrigerating.

The Brine – A while back I started soaking dried beans in a brine for 4 hours rather than soaking overnight.  The reason for this was that the final result is SO much better. (I got the idea from Cook’s Illustrated.) The beans stay intact and the skins don’t split open and fall apart, but yet they are quite tender.

When to add salt : pre-soak or not - I don’t know if you have noticed or not, but there is a lot of debate about when to salt beans. Some recipes say, add salt at the beginning and other says you have to add it at the end, otherwise the skins will be tough.  Even though I’ve studied the chemistry of this debate, I had to find out for myself, just like I had to test out the pre-soaking step.  Therefore, through the years I have cooked beans every way possible (except in a slow cooker). I’ve soaked them overnight, not soaked them at all, brined them for 4 hours, added salt at the beginning, added it in the middle, and added it at the end. I’ve cooked beans in a pressure cooker and on the stovetop using every combination there of. This is what I have found.  Based on how we like our beans, I have found that the best beans come from a 4 hours brine soak, a rinse, a short cook in a pressure cooker, and a salt to taste at the end.  The texture is perfect and the flavor is awesome! But like with any dish, it’s all based on personal preference.

Here’s an article that you might find interesting about the salt factor.  Does Salting Dried Beans Make Them Harder to Cook? by Roxanne Webber of CHOW.

The water – When you cook the bean you can always use some homemade stock as part of the liquid.

Other ingredients when cooking  – If you already know that you are going to use the beans from one dish, you can cook the beans in the pressure cooker using ingredients for that dish or ingredients to complement the dish. For example, if I’m going to make a big soup, I might add a smoked ham hock to the pressure cooker.  Or, if all the dishes are going to be southwestern, I’ll throw in some chiles, chile paste, or chile sauce in with the beans before cooking. Like I said – lots of versatility. Have fun!

Slowcooker variation – Here’s the process my sister used with her slowcooker:  Soak the pinto beans for 4 1/2 hours in a salt brine, then rinse. Put beans in the slow cooker on the highest temperature setting along with all the ingredients. (She used pork stock instead of water.) The beans should be perfectly and completely cooked after 2 ¾ hours.

What to do with cooked pinto beans?

  • Refried Beans – Mash some fully cooked, partially drained beans using a potato masher.  Heat 1 Tbsp. of bacon drippings per 1 cup of beans in a skillet.  Add the mashed beans and stir to incorporate the bacon drippings.  Add more liquid from the pot of beans if needed. Heat through and use for burritos, tostados or as a side.
  • Bean Burritos – Wrap some cooked beans in a flour tortilla with your favorite toppings, roll and smother with red chile sauce or green chile sauce or your favorite enchilada sauce.
  • Add to Bean and Rice
  • Add to soups, all kinds of salads and grains
  • And many, many more

I’d like to thank Diaz Farms for the wonderful bag of dried pinto beans. I’m looking forward to making many more dishes!

About Diaz Farms

Diaz Farms is “a three generation family owned and operated farm in Deming, New Mexico, near the Hatch Valley. Our farm started back in 1963 and since then we’ve been working hard to grow flavorful New Mexico green chile, red chile, onions, melons, hay, pinto beans and many other types of produce.” (Diaz Farms)

During fresh chile season, you can buy New Mexico fresh green and red chile, picked right over the bush and shipped to your home.  Check the Diaz Farm Online Shop for items that it sells year round (e.g., pinto beans, red chile powder and green chile powder)

Disclaimer:  Other than a free bag of pinto beans, I have received no compensation for this review of Diaz Farms pinto beans. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Cooking up a Pot of Pinto Beans has been shared with the following:  Hearth & Soul   .

 

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71 Responses to “Time to Cook up a Pot of Pinto Beans”

  1. Solomon February 11, 2014 at 12:18 am #

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  2. Michael September 29, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    The method you advise is exactly what I have been using with great results for the last few years. My question is whether in your tests you noticed any final flavor differences between brine-soaked beans, where the soaking water is tossed, and when the (unbrined) soaking water is used for cooking (or no soaking is done ahead). I’ve started using very fresh heirlooms, and I’m wondering whether the brining I do for great texture might not be necessary — and instead I’m throwing away some key flavor by discarding the soaking liquid. Hoping someone else has tried the comparisons so I don’t have to. ;)

    • mj September 29, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      Michael, Thanks so much for your comments! In answer to your question, no – I have not done the type of comparison that you are asking about. I’m not sure if the beans I get from Diaz Farms are heirlooms, but I do know that they are the current year’s beans and the best beans I’ve ever had. I’ll have to ask if they are heirlooms. Because I only brine for about 4 hours, I truly believe that very little if any of the flavor and nutrients are lost by throwing out the brine water. The main thing I like about this method is the texture (as you already know) and that I don’t have to add near the amount of salt to the cooking beans. I think the flavor is the best possible, but then is that due to the beans or the method? Not really sure. Now you have me curious. I’m going to be placing another order for beans soon, so I might just have to test this one out. Cheers! MJ

  3. Swathi August 20, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    I love cooking from dried beans. Love that you explained very well cooking the beans. I need that bowl.Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop

    • mj August 20, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      Thanks Swathi! Don’t you just love that bowl? My niece gave it to me for a present a while back. I love it!

  4. Terra June 5, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    I wish I could say I make beans from a dry state, but I must bow my head…. I instead rinse off canned beans, and get 70% of the sodium off the beans. It is easier in my crazy life:-) All that being said, I now want to make your lovely….DELISH recipe!! I think pinto beans would be my favorite bean, along with black beans for sure:-). Love your recipe, Hugs, Terra

  5. Nami | Just One Cookbook May 30, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    This looks good! Come to think of it, you have shared and inspired us with really delicious bean recipes, and this is another winner. Please keep them coming. :)

  6. Nancy/SpicieFoodie May 28, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    I like all sorts of beans, but pinto are higher on the list than black beans. Your recipe sounds so good, I could eat them for every meal of the day. Thanks for sharing MJ!

  7. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen May 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    Beans were very popular all through Italy, they seem to be on to something and so are you! I love the look of this recipe and really want to have more “meatless” meals this spring.. it’s so refreshing! xx

  8. Nads May 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    I soaked the pinto beans for 4 1/2 hours in a salt brine and then rinsed and put them in the slow cooker on the highest temperature setting along with all the ingredients, including the pork stock which was still frozen. They were perfectly and completely cooked when I checked them after 2 3/4 hours. Holding off eating until the ball game tonight – GO SPURS!!!!!!

    • mj May 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      Thanks Nads for the slowcooker information! That helps A LOT! I hope y’all enjoyed them tonight. What toppings did you use? Go Heat! :)

  9. Charles May 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Love, love, love beans! Can’t eat enough of them, quite frankly! That’s a great tip about brining them… thanks a lot – I’ll remember that next time. We bought a pressure cooker a few months back too. Keep meaning to put it to greater use!

    • mj May 27, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

      Thanks Charles! Once you’ve tried pressure cooker beans you’ll never want them any other way. :)

  10. Viviane Bauquet Farre- Food and Style May 27, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Looks great, MJ!

  11. Asmita May 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    This is one of the best meals I can think of cooking for my family. We love beans and I am sure they would relish this.
    Fantastic recipe!

    • mj May 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      Thanks Asmita! It’s one of our favorite meals as well!

  12. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles May 26, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Thank you for sharing the details of your bean prep MJ — I too love cooking beans from dry and am always trying new methods. What kind of brine do you use for soaking them? (is it a simple salt water solution?). I must try the 4 hour method. I have to say, your bowl of beans could not look more appetizing — in fact, the contents remind me a great deal of what we had for dinner last night in quesadilla form! Love. As often as we eat beans, my hubby still can’t resist making fun of them (we’re so mature in this family ;-)).

    • mj May 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      Kelly – yes, it’s just a simple brine of salt and water. I start with 1 Tbsp of salt and a quart of water, then add enough water to cover the beans. I know some might say that 4 hours isn’t long enough, but it works for me. An overnight soak is too long because the beans fall apart before you even start cooking them and then they become mushy. Oh quesadilla! We love bean quesadillas as well, along with bean tostadas and burritos. Thanks for your comment and have a great week!

  13. Soni May 26, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Oh I love Pinto beans, but never tried is this way!The toppings seem like a great way to add some delicious flavors and I cannot wait to serve my guests :) Thanks for yet another lovely recipe MJ!!

    • mj May 26, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

      Thank you Soni! I’m not sure if you noticed or not, but I love dishes with lots of toppings! :)

  14. Raymund May 26, 2013 at 2:32 am #

    Thats a nice bowl of beans. I remember in the Philippines we dont have pressure cooker but when we cook dried beans we have to soak them in water overnight first to make the cooking time lesser.

    • mj May 26, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      Thanks Raymund! Now imagine how fast beans cook when you soak them AND pressure cook them. Pretty darn fast!

  15. Carole May 24, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    MJ, you have inspired me to give dried beans more of a go. HOpe you are having a good weekend. Cheers

  16. Gomo | cHow Divine May 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    I love cooked dried beans. Unfortunately, I usually have to settle for the canned variety. I will have to make some soon though. Your post is making my mouth water! I have a bag of dried beans that’s been sitting around for a few months. How long are they good for? :-D I better get moving. Great post MJ!

    • mj May 25, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      Thanks Gomo! Don’t worry about those dried beans you’ve had sitting for months. Dried beans last indefinitely. However, the longer they sit the more imperative it is to pre-soak. The little openings that allow moisture into the bean tend to closeup the longer the beans sit; therefore, a pre-soak helps to soften the openings so moisture can reach the inside of the bean. I think it’s time you cook up those dried beans. You already know that they are better. :) Have a great weekend Darlin!

  17. beyondthepeel May 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    I could have used this 3 days ago. hahaha. My beans were not as good as yours. I can guarantee it. I don’t have a pressure cooker, but I’ll be using your recipe in a regular pot next time. I have a butt load on pinto beans I brought out with me, so I better learn to make them taste great :)

    • mj May 25, 2013 at 8:41 am #

      Thanks Frances! I saw your comment and just imagined you sitting there in that little cabin in the forest typing away. :) I hope you enjoy the beans and all of the wonderful dishes I know you’ll prepare with them.

  18. Mark May 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi MJ, this post is definitely getting bookmarked! Thanks for all the great tips on cooking beans. I started cooking beans for the first time just a few years ago when we were living in Malaysia, and oh man, do I have a lot of stories to tell:) Mostly bad, unfortunately. From burning beans (I remembered dumping them out and hand picking out the burnt parts , and then following someone’s tip about adding in peanut butter to cover the burnt taste. Haha, didn’t work at all, and had to throw them out), to undercooked beans (mistakenly mixing black beans with kidney beans, which have much different cooking times). But then when I got back home, it got much easier, and I realized that a lot of the beans being sold in Malaysia are just too old and can’t be cooked anymore. What a bean saga. Anyway, as I said, this page is bookmarked!

    Have a great weekend, MJ!

    • mj May 25, 2013 at 8:39 am #

      Peanut butter? Really? Hey – if it’s burnt it’s burnt and there is NOTHING that will cover up the burnt flavor. One can get rid of the burnt parts, but from my experience, no matter what you have burnt, that flavor has infused throughout the dish and it’s a tosser. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? I’m so glad you like this post! Thanks so much for the comments Mark! It’s great hearing from you. Give Reese a hug and you two have a marvelous weekend!

      • Mark May 28, 2013 at 10:09 am #

        Yeah, I tried to trick Reese. It was for a pot of chili, but the peanut butter addition didn’t fool her. She took one bite and had a strange look on her face. That’s the one bad thing about having a “wet kitchen” with the stove outside – too easy to forget about it and burn your dinner.

        Hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend!

  19. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies May 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    I use dried beans whenever I can instead of canned–the taste and the texture is so much better!

  20. Amber @ The Cook's Sister May 24, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Lovely pinto beans! We love adding them to enchiladas!

    Do you know if there are any alternate names for Pinto beans? We had no problem finding them in Toronto… but back at home I just can’t seem to find them at the grocery store!

    • mj May 25, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      Thanks Amber! No, I don’t believe that there are alternative name to pintos. However, there are similar beans such as bolita and cranberry beans that are very similar. How you can find some, but you know – you can always order online. :)

  21. Giulietta | Alterkitchen May 24, 2013 at 1:38 am #

    Great post, and you made me crave for beans at 9.30 AM… is it even possible? ;)

  22. Anne@FromMySweetHeart May 23, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

    Oh these look wonderful MJ! I am more of a black bean eater, but you are right, pinto beans have such a smooth buttery flavor! And I love your array of toppings! You are going to make me kick my black bean habit! : )

    • mj May 25, 2013 at 8:23 am #

      Thanks Anne! I have to give the Diaz family credit for helping me kick the black bean habits. I don’t know if I would have been buying any pinto soon, if they hadn’t sent me some. I’m not sure if it was their particular beans or not, but they were the best tasting pintos I’ve ever had! Have a great weekend Anne! I’m still dreaming of that beautiful chocolate cake with that pink raspberry frosting. YUM!

  23. Tessa May 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    What a delicous bowl of beans! That reminds me that I need to dig up my old pressure cooker too! Have a great weekend MJ!

  24. Zsuzsa May 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Pressure cooking beans! Peach Lady I just told my better half today that I want to cook more beans from now on. What a timely post, I can’t cook dry beans beans! I will check out your bean posts and maybe learn from you. Pressure cooking, well of course! I never thought of that. Thank you for sharing! I am all excited now.

    • mj May 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

      Thanks Zsuzsa! Hey girl – with your new diet, beans would be perfect! You really need to give pressure cooking them a try. Good luck! If you try it – let me know. Have a great weekend!

  25. Sissi May 23, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    MJ, I’m ashamed to say I haven’t used my black beans yet :-( I have printed your kindly sent recipes and keep on forgetting to soak the beans, so when I “wake up” just before the dinner it’s too late. One day I will, of course, because they smile at me every time I open the cupboard ;-)
    Pinto is one more variety I have never tasted, but they sound delicious, especially with your luscious toppings. I do agree that canned beans cannot compare to dried and slowly cooked ones. (By the way, I’m a bit embarassed to ask, but as a frequent bean eater do you still have stomach issues? Do you have any special tricks? Does one get “immune” to them with time and regular intake? I must admit this problem makes me cook beans less often, even though I love them).

    • mj May 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

      Hey girl – don’t be embarrassed! I still have that jar of tamarind paste unopened in the pantry. So many recipes and so little time. :) Actually, I don’t have any stomach issues of any other digestive issues with beans. Never really have either. However, some people I know have mild issues, but nothing that can’t be tolerated. Some places “say” that when you soak them and then pour out the soaking water, it helps to reduce digestive issues. Since I brine, drain and rinse, that may be why it’s not an issue this house. I would recommend to eat a small serving the first night and see how you feel. If everything is o.k., then add more beans the next time you eat them. I couldn’t imagine living without beans. They are as much a staple as green chile. :) Have a great weekend!

      • Sissi May 25, 2013 at 6:52 am #

        Thanks a lot, MJ. Maybe it’s because I soak beans in unsalted water and not in brine, like you.
        I have also read on a vegan blog that many people just need to get used to beans, i. e. eat them more and more often. It’s true that in my whole life I used to eat beans maybe twice a month…

  26. Ramona May 23, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    I would devour that bowl of beans my friend. I love how hearty it looks. I have some dried pinto beans sitting in my pantry… I wish I could blink these for lunch now. :)

  27. Vicky May 23, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    I love a bowl of beans and this recipe is wonderful!

  28. Helene D'souza May 23, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    haha you won’t believe it MJ but just earlier I was thinking of making some bean pot tomorrow (need to soak) and of course you came to my mind. ^.^ Now I have no clue if I could get those beans here, they might just be selling them here and I might have seen them before but they all have different names and they kind of look alike at times. ^.^ I will research a bit. :)

    • mj May 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

      :) Thanks Helene! It’s always nice to know you’re being thought of even if it’s because of your beans. haha! If you have a Mexican market, you might look there. Pinto beans are commonly used in Mexico for refried beans and many other uses. Enjoy your beans Darlin and have a great weekend.

  29. Jennie @themessybakerblog May 23, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    That’s my kind of meal, right there. I know this may sound weird to some, but I could totally make a meal out of beans. Your recipe looks so good. Nom!

    • mj May 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      Jennie – it doesn’t sound weird at all! Bobby and I eat a bowl of beans for a meals quite often. They are so good and good for you! Thanks Darlin!

  30. Lesley May 23, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    MJ you always seem to read my mind! Ijust purchased 10 lbs of pinto beans and have them sitting on my kitchen table in large jars for storage.

    I absolutely LOVE beans, especially black beans, garbonzos and pintos.

    Thanks for your input on the salt issue as well!

    • mj May 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      Well what perfect timing! I guess I need to get busy and post a few more pinto bean recipes. :) Enjoy your pintos!

  31. john@kitchenriffs May 23, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    Superb post! And timely for me – I’ve been cooking a lot of pinto beans lately. I’m always cooking beans and pinto have been in the rotation, but I’ve been trying to “master” pintos. I recently got a spiffy ceramic Spanish olla (bean pot) so I’ve been having fun with that. The idea of cooking beans in a pressure cooker has tons of advantages – one of these days I’m going to buy one and play. I’m particularly taken with your idea of brining the beans. And thanks for the link on when to salt! I’ve read tons of things about this over the years, and have tried numerous things. I tend to salt early. I’ve never tried brining, though – I have to do that! Terrific post – thanks so much.

    • mj May 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      Thanks John! I’m glad you liked the post. I especially enjoyed writing this one for some reason. Oh I’m jealous! A Spanish olla – what fun that is going to be! You obviously should test it out with pintos. Have a great weekend!

  32. Debra May 23, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    I have got to get a pressure cooker! And these toppings?!?!?!? I am going to have to use these for all sorts of chilis and soups.

    • mj May 24, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      Yep – you do need a pressure cooker! I don’t have a slowcooker, but I can’t live without my pressure cooker.

  33. Donalyn@The Creekside Cook May 23, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    I think Pintos are my favorite all-purpose bean and these look really wonderful! As luck would have it, I just received a pressure cooker as a Birthday gift so this may end up being my maiden voyage with that – thanks for the great inspiration!

    • mj May 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      Oh that’s so cool Donalyn! I’m sure it’s a fancy pressure cooker (compared to mine), so be sure to read the manual and see what they recommend for dried beans. However, I’ll warn you that the timing in pressure cookers manual are usually lower than needed. That’s certainly the case with mine. Let me know how they turn out. BTW – Happy Birthday!

  34. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef May 23, 2013 at 6:18 am #

    The first time I said, “I’m not a big bean lover,” in Tennessee, the looks I got were incredible. It was like I’d come in wearing green skin and having huge eyes. :) After living there several years I caved in and decided they were okay after all.

    I think I’d really like yours. :)

    • mj May 24, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

      You’re funny Maureen. :) A lot of people don’t like beans for many reasons, and then there are people like me who LOVE certain types of beans and then other beans, like kidney beans which are o.k. The only time I’ll eat kidney beans is in red beans and rice. So you’re normal – no green skin or huge eyes. :) Hopefully you will find a process and recipe that you love because beans are so good for you. Thanks for your comments and have a great weekend!

  35. CCU May 23, 2013 at 4:37 am #

    I am a huge bean fan so thank you for another recipe for me to indulge in them :D
    Yum!

    Cheers
    CCU

    • Su Anne June 15, 2013 at 9:57 am #

      Pressure cooker is on the stove for a pot of pintos to go into Father’s Day Breakfast Burritos and then some. YUM! I seem to always over cook my beans under pressure so am thankful for all the information on timing.

      • mj June 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

        Thanks Su Anne and you are most welcome! At your altitude you might have to cook them 10 to 20 minutes after pressure cooking to cook them through. But they certainly shouldn’t be overcooked. I hope your dad and you all enjoy the burritos! A very Happy Father’s Day to him!

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